Message of the day - Jennéa
You can do no great things, only small things with great love. – Mother Theresa
If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. – Betty Reese
Journal by: Krista
Today is not an ordinary day. It’s a special day for one of our Lovies. It’s Elena’s birthday. As we all sign her Disney princess birthday card, I wonder how many of her birthdays have gone unnoticed.
But since she has become a member of the Global Volunteers family, we will do more than notice her. We spend the morning paying attention to her and all our little ones. Jennéa holds Cleo and helps the massage therapist work on her back. Lorry helps Big Man aka Vali walk. Kerry, unable to get that spa appointment for Nadia, does the next best thing for her- she touches and talks to her non-stop while keeping the birthday girl entertained. Jane, who unfortunately still feels under the weather (and as it is bad, grey, cold weather, she is really hurting) spends special cradling time with Ana and Gabby. Emily helps Mihi do gymnastics flips into one crib while lifting Paula in and out of another crib. Terri gives one on one time with Raoul, who is thrilled not only for the always positive playmate but also fro the soothing medicine Global Volunteers generously provided. Krista draws portraits and instigates a dance party with the older children (Katerina, Gabriella, Bordge and Albert) who Global Volunteers have informally adopted from St Nicholas Hospital. Everyone introduces herself to our newest family member Carmen, who is an 8 year old darling girl with epilepsy. Even though her blindness causes her eyes to fail her, we are all surprised that her legs are strong. She is a terrific walker. If Sammy were still here, Carmen would be a formidable competitor in Global Volunteers’ Special Olympic walking contest.
After Dan’s announcement that pizza was for lunch, us volunteers could have won a power walking competition. We were at lunch in a flash. While we devoured pizza and chocolate, we learn about Romania’s health system. Like healthcare around the world, Romania’s system has room for improvements, namely when it comes to realistic access to free programs and reimbursement timings, which virtually force every parent to pay immediately out of pocket or allow their children to go without proper treatment.
During lunch Jane has to go home to recover. Kerry and Jennéa walk Barlad and the TN ladies stay with Krista at the hospital. Sitting on our “changing of slippers” bench at the hospital, we see many patients climb up the stairs. All the pajamas start to look alike. The hospital must mandate that all children and their parents must wear PJs so as to keep everything more clean.
If our Lovies were in their PJs, they would be ready to change. They are up from their naps and ready to make sure we accomplish our first team goal – to love the children.
At our favorite restaurant, we enjoy hearty Italian or heavenly desserts while we discuss all four of our team goals. I would give us a pretty good report card thus far.
Love the children
Given the amount of smiles when we are present and the loud wails when we leave, I think it’s clear the Lovies feel loved.
Embrace Romanian culture
Yes, our trip to the Painted monasteries and Iasi gave us much insight into this beautiful country. But our learning through Dan, Michaela, Lorry and walks in Barlad give us even more. Now, we all just need to master more than ‘good morning’ in Romanian.
Meet new people and work effectively as a team
We know a lot about each other now. We even know who is Team Edward, Team Jacob, or Team “What’s Twilight?”.
We work joyfully as a group of 9 but can compensate when we are only 4.
Pay it forward
Besides all our donations and the “Farewell Teddy Bear” idea, we have not yet had the opportunity to pay it forward. But I am sure the team – through blogs, fundraising or returning to volunteer – will pay forward hundreds, thousands of lei.
Even such a praise-worthy report card makes for a lame birthday present. If I could give one present or one wish to each remaining Global Volunteer, here would be my shopping list:
Dan & Michaela: A bright, splendid Tutova-like atmosphere on the 1st floor of St Nicholas Hospital
Terri: The ability to come to Romania each year to share her gifts and talents with the children
Jennéa: A successful career in maternal health – we need more thoughtful worldly and smart public health workers in that field
Emily: A marching band scholarship to her TN and a fabulous first date back from Romania with her boyfriend
Jane: Great lasting health and all the underground world she wants
Kerry: Her husband or her husband’s ability to look down on her and see all her adventures with her
And more importantly, for the babies and children of Global Volunteers, I wish them MANY, MANY more birthdays that are filled with health, happiness, comfort and opportunities than can continually improve their lives.
For those volunteers who have left:
Katie Bray: Her coveted investment banking on Wall Street for a few years. Then a career she can use her boundless energy and empathy to help children
Bradley: Almost nothing because his maturity, work ethic and positive attitude will already get him everywhere he wants to go!
Bob: Understanding of how much his contributions – from donations to kitchen building to biking across the US to introducing another generation to Romania – have had an impact.